Finding aid for the Morrie Turner Papers

Angela Noble
African American Museum & Library at Oakland
659 14th Street
Oakland, California 94612
Phone: (510) 637-0198
Fax: (510) 637-0204
Email:aamlo@oaklandlibrary.org
URL: http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/locations/african-american-museum-library-oakland
#x00A9; 2013
African American Museum & Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

Finding aid for the Morrie Turner Papers

MS 24

African American Museum & Library at Oakland

Oakland, California
Processed by:
Angela Noble
Date Completed:
04/09/2013
Encoded by:
Angela Noble
#x00A9; 2013 African American Museum & Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Dates: 1924-2014
Bulk Dates: 1965-2014
Collection number: 24
Creator: Turner, Morrie
Collection Size: 5.5 linear feet (4 boxes + 2 oversized)
Repository: African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
Oakland, CA 94612
Abstract: Morrie Turner, the first nationally syndicated African American cartoonist, was born on December 11, 1923 in Oakland, California. In the 1960’s Turner created “Wee Pals” a comic strip about an ethnically diverse group of friends.The “Wee Pals” originally appeared in only 5 newspapers but that eventually grew to over 100. In 1972 ABC produced 17 episodes of the “Wee Pals” as an animated series for their Saturday morning lineup.
Physical location: African American Museum and Library at Oakland
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Access

No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.

Access Restrictions

Materials are for use in-library only, non-circulating.

Publication Rights

Permission to publish must be obtained from the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.

Preferred Citation

Morrie Turner Papers, MS 24, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

Biography / Administrative History

Morrie Turner, the first nationally syndicated African American cartoonist, was born on December 11, 1923 in Oakland, California. Turner attended Oakland public schools including Cole Elementary and McClymonds High School before transferring to Berkeley High in his senior year. After graduation he joined the Air Force, where he had his first opportunity to draw a comic strip called “Rail Head” for Stars and Stripes magazine. After leaving the military he returned to Berkeley and married his sweetheart Letha. The couple have lived and raised their family in Berkeley ever since. Turner’s first civilian comic strip “Dinky Fellas” was modeled after his mentor Charles “Sparky” Schultz. In the 1960’s Turner created “Wee Pals” a comic strip about an ethnically diverse group of friends. The comic strip made Turner the first African American cartoonist to be nationally syndicated. Turner and the “Wee Pals” gave back to the community by working with organizations including: the USO, The Boys Club of Oakland, and the White House Conference on Children. The “Wee Pals” originally appeared in only 5 newspapers but that eventually grew to over 100. In 1972 ABC produced 17 episodes of the “Wee Pals” as an animated series for their Saturday morning lineup. In addition to his love of drawing Turner has been committed to raising awareness of African American history. In 1965 Turner became one of the founding members of the East Bay Negro Historical Society (EBNHS).

Scope and Content of Collection

Morrie Turner Papers consist of five boxes, original drawings and comic strips of the Wee Pals as well as copies of those clipped from the newspaper. Also included are coloring books by Turner, family photos, professional correspondence and contracts as well as an oral history interview with Turner and original hand puppets based upon the Wee Pals. The collection has been arranged into five series: Comic strips, publications, correspondence, biographical material, photographs and artifacts.

Arrangement

Collection is arranged into series and chronologically within the series. Series I. Comic Strips 1964-1995 Original Strips, 1965-1995 News Clippings, 1964-1993 Art Originals, 1985, 1989, and undated “Wee Pals” published compilation books Series II. Publications, 1969-2007 Series III. Correspondence, 1965-2005 Series IV. Biographical material, 1924-2014 Turner family photographs, 1924-1991 Series V. Artifacts, Undated Miscellaneous, 1968-2011

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Turner, Morrie
Multiculturalism -- Caricatures and cartoons
Cartoonists—African-American
Oakland (Calif.)--History--20th century
Oakland (Calif.)--Culture

Ericsson, M. K. (1986). Morrie Turner Creator of "Wee Pals". Canada and United States: Regensteiner Publishing Enterprises, Inc. Turner, M. (2002, April 2). Oral History Interview with Morrie Turner. (N. Thompson, Interviewer)

Other Finding Aids

Jesse W. and Marcella Ford Papers, African American Museum & Library at Oakland; Eugene and Ruth Lasartemay Papers, African American Museum & Library at Oakland; Morrie Turner Collection, Syracuse University Library http://library.syr.edu/digital/guides/t/turner_m.htm

Collection Contents

 

Comic Strips 1964-1995

Physical Description: 59 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes original comic strip drawings, published Wee Pals comic strips clipped from newspapers, Wee Pals books, and other original Morrie Turner drawings.

Arrangement

Items are arranged chronologically.
 

Original Strips 1965-1995

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Includes original strips drawn by Turner including production notes.

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.
Box OM14:1

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1965 and undated

Box OM14:2

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1966

Box OM14:3

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1967

Box OM14:4

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1968

Box OM14:5

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1969

Box OM14:6

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1970

Box OM14:7

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1971

Box OM14:8

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1972

Box OM14:9

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1973

Box OM14:10

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1974

Box OM14:11

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1975 and undated

Box OM14:12

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1976

Box OM14:13

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1977

Box OM14:14

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1978

Box OM14:15

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1979

Box OM14:15

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1980

Box OM14:17

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1981

Box OM14:18

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1982

Box OM14:19

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1983

Box OM14:20

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1984

Box OM14:21

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1985

Box OM14:22

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1986

Box OM14:23

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1987

Box OM14:24

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1988

Box OM14:25

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1989

Box OM14:26

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1990

Box OM14:27

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1991 May-Aug.

Box OM14:28

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1991 Sept.-Dec.

Box OM14:29

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1992 Jan.-June

Box OM14:30

Wee Pals daily comic strip originals 1992 July-Sept.

Box OM15:1

Wee Pals Sunday originals 1989

Box OM15:2

Wee Pals Sunday originals 1990

Box OM15:3

Wee Pals Sunday originals 1991 June-December

Box OM15:4

Wee Pals Sunday originals 1992 January - June

Box OM15:5

Wee Pals Sunday originals 1992 January - June

Box OM15:6

Wee Pals Sunday originals 1992 July - December

Box OM15:7

Wee Pals Sunday originals 1992 July - December

Box OM15:8

Wee Pals mock up color strips 1992, 1996

 

News Clippings 1964-1993

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Includes newspaper clippings of the Wee Pals comic strips.

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.
Box 2:1

Wee Pals Sunday scrapbook 1976-1985

Box 2:2

Wee Pals Sunday scrapbook 1978-1984

Box 2:8

Wee Pals Sunday clippings 1970

Box 2:9

Wee Pals Sunday clippings 1971

Box 2:10

Wee Pals Sunday clippings 1972

Box 2:11

Wee Pals Sunday clippings 1974

Box 2:12

Wee Pals Sunday clippings 1975

Box 2:13

Wee Pals Sunday clippings 1976, 1977

Box 2:14

Wee Pals Sunday clippings 1979

Box 2:15

Wee Pals Sunday clippings 1980

Box 2:16

Wee Pals Sunday clippings 1983, 1984, 1985

Box 2:17

Wee Pals Sunday clippings 1989, 1992, 1993

Box OM15:9

African American Chronicle, student newspaper 1991 January - 1992 March

Box OM15:10

Eastbay Negro Historical Society clipping poster 1968

Box OM15:11

Eastbay Negro Historical Society clipping poster 1981

Box 2:50

Morrie Turner press clippings 1964-1969

Box 2:51

Morrie turner press clippings 1970-1979

Box 2:52

Morrie Turner press clippings 1980-2002

Box 3:1

St. Louis Library newsletter i-94-454 1992 September

 

Art originals 1985, 1989, and undated

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Includes original drawings by Turner that were not published in books or newspapers.
Box 2:6

Animation cells circa 1985

Box 2:7

Thank you drawing undated

Box 2:31

Wee pals with police undated

Box OM15:1

Wee Pals Soul Corner originals 1989

Box 3:8

Puffy the Train original art nine drawings circa 1970s

Box 3:8

Wee Pals original drawing undated

Box 3:8

Wee Pals framed original with Ruth Acty Undated

 

Publications 1969-2007

Physical Description: 25 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes Morrie Turner publication projects beyond the "Wee Pals" comic strip. Projects such as the St. Patrick Day Parade, coloring books, calendars and posters by Turner.

Arrangement

Series is arranged by format and chronologically within the folder.
 

Books

Box 2:36

‘Wee Pals Salutes African-Americans in the military” 2000

Box 3:2

The Rubber soled kid comic book 1976

 

Coloring books

Box 2:18

Wee Pals "Black and White" coloring book 1969

Box 2:19

"Wee Pals Make Friends with Music" coloring book 1982

Box 2:20

Title 1965

Box 1:1

“Go BART-ing” coloring book 1984

Box 2:23

Wee Pals Black History Trivia Quiz and Game book 1986

Box 2:24

“People Living Together” coloring book 1987

Box 2:25

It's Okay to Say No! to Strangers 1988

Box 2:25

Wee-Pals meet Officer Packy Bell and other pals 1989

Box 2:25

Getting in touch with me 1991

Box 2:26

Wee Pals "Latch Key Kids" coloring book circa 1990

Box 2:27

Morrie Turner – Wee Pals – “Learn to Say No” circa 1991

Box 2:28

“Doing the Right Thing” coloring book 1991

Box 2:29

AIDS: Color me deadly coloring book 1987

Box 2:42

AIDS: Color me deadly coloring book correspondence and research 1989

Box 2:30

“Oakland: the accessible city” coloring book 1985

Box 2:33

“AIDS and the Black Community, one on one” coloring book 1989

Box 2:34

Brochures and pamphlets 1962-2004 and undated

 

Calendars

Box 2:35

Soul corner 1983

Box 2:44

African American Museum & Library at Oakland calendar 2007

Box 3:7

African American history calendar 1997

 

Assorted drawings

Box 2:3

Wee Pals Eastbay Negro Historical Society anniversary drawing 1983

Box 2:4

Woman history jumbles and Soul circle undated

Box 2:21

St. Patrick’s Day Unity Parade program featuring Wee Pals 1984

Box 2:22

St. Patrick’s Day parade- Wee Pals- Morrie Turner grand marshal 1985

Box 2:5

Alien comic strip 1971

Box 2:32

Dellums portrait Project – solicitation, stationary and comic strip 1997

Box 2:45

Wee Pals stationary undated

Box OM:8

Ethnic images poster 1986

 

Correspondence 1965-2005 1965-1991

Physical Description: 5 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes correspondence and contracts from Turner's agent, Toni Mendez Agency, as well as letters from fans and other general correspondence.

Arrangement

Each folder is arranged chronologically.
Box 2:40

Toni Mendez Agency correspondence. I-94.956 1971-1991

Box 2:41

Toni Mendez Agency contracts circa 1971-1992

Box 2:46

New American Library (NAL), correspondence and contract 1965-1979

Box 2:47

Turner fan letters 1962-2005

Box 2:48

General correspondence 1968-1992

 

Biographical

 

Biographical material 1937-2014 1940-2014

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

This series includes report cards and programs from elementary school productions, biographical information, a VHS copy of the documentary “Keeping the Faith with Morrie”, an oral interview with Morrie Turner and the Turner Family history printed for the family reunion.

Arrangement

Items are arranged chronologically.
Box 2:37

School assembly program – Cole school 1937

Box 2:38

High school report cards 1941

Box 2:39

Berkeley High School hall of fame 1990, 1991

Box 2:43

Morrie Turner 80th birthday tribute, program 2003 December

Box 2:53

AAMLO and Morrie Turner 2002

Box 2:54

Biographical information 2003

Box 2:55

Interview with Morrie Turner by Nancy Thompson [2 CDS and transcript] 2002 April

Box 2:56

Turner family history 2003, 2010

Box ART1

VHS tape of documentary “Keeping the Faith with Morrie” 2001

Box 2:53

Funeral service program 2014

 

Turner family photographs 1924-1991 1942-1978

Physical Description: 21 folders

Subseries Scope and Content Summary

Includes Turner family photographs and photographs related to his work as a cartoonist.

Arrangement

Arranged by photograph identification number.
Box 3:4

Portrait of Morrie Turner in military uniform [001] circa 1940s

Box 3:4

Morrie Turner and three soldier in military jeep [002] circa 1940s

Box 3:4

Portrait of Morrie Turner [004] circa 1940s

Box 3:4

Cole Elementary School music class photograph [005/009] 1934

Box 3:4

Cole Elementary School music class photograph [005/009] 1934

Box 3:4

Morrie Turner, one year old, sitting in rocking chair [006] circa 1924

Box 3:4

Portrait of Morrie Turner and soldier in military uniform [007] circa 1940s

Box 3:4

Turner family standing in front of house, pictured (left-right): Morris Turner, Joseph Turner, Marion Turner, Edward Turner [007] circa 1940s

Box 3:4

Morrie Turner and three men standing in front of house [010] circa 1940's

Box 3:4

Publisher Dr. William H. Lee speaking at podium [011] circa 1980s

Box 3:4

Morrie Turner and mom standing in front yard of Aunt Sarah Williams [012] 1966

Box 3:4

Morrie Turner, Joe, Mother, Buster and Ed standing in front yard [013] circa 1940s

Box 3:4

Three boys sitting on front steps [014] circa 1920s

Box 3:4

Portrait of Morrie Turner [015] circa 1940s

Box 3:4

Portrait of Morrie Turner [016] circa 1940s

Box 3:4

Morrie Turner graduation portrait in cap and gown, inscribed: 'To Leroy T. Knox from Morrie Murphy Turner' [017] circa 1941

Box 3:4

Publicity headshot of Alice Scott, Channel 3 [018] circa 1980s

Box 3:5

Morrie Turner and children holding 'Good neighbors come in all colors' posters [019] circa 1980's

Box 3:5

Morrie Turner in drawing room with unidentified man [020] circa 1970s

Box 3:5

Morrie Turner and Charles Schulz standing in front of house [021] circa 1960s

Box 3:5

Morrie Turner drawing cartoon at desk smoking a cigarette [022] circa 1970's

Box 3:5

Morrie Turner drawing cartoon at desk [023] circa 1970's

Box 3:5

Morrie Turner drawing Wee Pals cartoon at desk [024A] 1991

Box 3:5

Charles Schulz and unidentified man standing next to cartoon [024B] circa 1970s

Box 3:5

Headshot of Morrie Turner [025] 1970

Box 3:5

Two men and woman sitting at dining table [026] circa 1970s

Box 3:5

Morrie Turner and unidentified man standing smoking cigarettes [027] circa 1970s

Box 3:5

Morrie Turner hugging two children sitting on couch [028] circa 1970s

Box 3:6

Colorized portrait of Morrie Turner [029] circa 1940s

Box 3:6

Morrie Turner talking to classroom of students [030] circa 1970s

Box 3:6

Morrie Turner appearing on Sunday television program [031] circa 1970s

Box 3:6

Morrie Turner and girl looking at Mexican statues [032] circa 1970s

Box 3:6

Morrie Turner surrounded by group of children at Wee Pals concert [033] circa 1970s

Box 3:6

Morrie Turner surrounded by group of children at Wee Pals concert [033] circa 1970s

Box 3:6

Exterior of Paramount theater, Wee Pals Oakland concert on sign [034] circa 1970s

Box 3:6

Morrie Turner drawing cartoon [035] 1978

 

Artifacts undated

Physical Description: 2 boxes

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes "Wee Pals" artifacts, lunchbox, jewelry, desktop bobble, and 13 Wee Pals hand puppets

Arrangement

Artifacts are not arranged.
Box 1

Wee Pals hand puppets [13] undated

Box ART1

Wee Pals lunchbox undated

Box ART1

Wee Pals pins and rings [22] undated

Box ART1

Wee Pals desktop bobble undated

Box 3:3

Miscellaneous 1968-2011 and undated